OLYMPIA — By the middle of the next decade, Washington workers should be eligible to draw money from a special fund to help with the expense of long-term care at home or in a nursing facility through a new state program that supporters say is the first in the nation.

Starting in 2022, workers in the state will pay into the Long-Term Trust Program account through a premium based on 0.58% of their wages. By 2025, when those benefits are available, they’ll be able to receive up to $36,500 in “benefit units” to assist with a wide range of daily living services.

Over the next 10 years, the state estimates the trust fund will collect some $8 billion to help with the costs that can include adult day services, memory care, respite for family caregivers and home-delivered meals.

Gov. Jay Inslee, who was surrounded by legislative sponsors and supporters Monday afternoon as he signed the bill, called it and a separate bill setting up Cascade Care, a public option for health insurance, a historic occasion.

“Washington is leading the nation in a brighter way to provide for the health and security of our families,” Inslee said. The bills represent a “bold leap forward that I believe can be a template for the United States.”

Although an estimated 7 out of every 10 people who reach age 65 will need some type of long-term care in their life, it is not covered by Medicare.

Private long-term care policies have become increasingly expensive and restrictive in their benefits. Many long-term care services are not covered by Medicaid, a joint federal and state program, until a person drops below a certain level of income.

“People will no longer have to spend themselves into poverty in order to get care,” said Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, the prime sponsor of the bill.

Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby, sponsor of a companion bill in the Senate, called the new system “morally right and fiscally responsible.” Some 90% of Washington residents don’t have long-term care coverage, he said.

“We’re trying to do the right thing and make sure they can age with dignity,” Palumbo said.